Anybody who has ever visited the Lake District will know that it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and it seems as though the rest of the planet is now starting to realise it.
Recently awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO, breaks in the Lake District are bound to spring into popularity among the wider populace. With its stunning views and beautiful scenery, the area has always been popular with walkers, ramblers, and cyclists, but the rise of luxury hotels, and award-winning pubs and restaurants in the area means that it’s just as likely to suit those looking for a less energetic getaway.
These are just five reasons to try the Lake District for yourself this year:
Long walks and fresh air
Whether you’re a hardened rambler, or a first-timer, there will be a walking trail suited for you. There are hundreds of dedicated walking routes around the region (eager walkers should invest in a copy of Walking Guides by Bill Birkett, which will show you some of the walks and trails that are best-suited to you and your level of experience), including ones suitable for first time ramblers, young kids, and even for buggies and pushchairs. A walk around the Lake District comes with breath-taking scenery thrown in as standard. Mountains range the horizon, including England’s highest peak, Scafell Pike, while ridges and waterfalls disguise pockets of hidden scenery like nature’s own curtains.
A literary history
The Lake District has a proud literary past, perhaps best embodied in the informal school of nineteenth century poets, known collectively as the Bards of the Lakes, or simply the Lake Poets. The most famous member was, of course William Wordsworth, whose immortal poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud was inspired by the poet seeing a long belt of golden daffodils along the shores of Ullswater with his sister Dorothy (another member of the movement). Wordsworth wrote a guide to the area in 1820, sparking an interest in the Lakes from tourists, which he later lamented, and described it as ‘the loveliest spot that man have found’. You can visit Wordsworth’s birthplace, Wordsworth House, in Cockermouth, or even attend the Words by the Water festival, which takes place in Keswick.
Delicious local food
The North Lakes are home to some of the finest local produce you will find anywhere in the country, whether you’re buying ingredients for your self-catering cottage in the Lakes, or visiting a local pub or restaurant, many of which supplement their fair with local ingredients. Perhaps you want to buy a freshly-baked crusty loaf from one of the bakeries in Keswick, or some Cumberland sausages from Richard Woodall, the official supplier of Cumberland sausage to the Queen. Then again, maybe the Lake District Cheese Company’s range of award-winning cheddars might be more to your taste, washed down with a bottle of Jennings Brewery’s famous Sneck Lifter, straight from the brewery in Cockermouth.
The Lakes are home to some wonderful art galleries and museums, housing all manner of interesting exhibits, but sometimes you want something off the beaten path, such as Keswick’s Derwent Pencil Museum (my dad’s favourite!!), which celebrates 500 years of the pencil. Or, for local history, there is the excellent Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.
And then there are the lakes
Whilst only one of the 16 bodies of water in the Lake District is technically named a lake, there are many meres, waters, and tarns about that attract visitors by their thousands. Whether swimming in them, sailing on them, canoeing in them, or just admiring the sheer, majestic beauty of them, what makes a visit to the Lake District most worthwhile are the lakes themselves!